The social work profession is in a state of flux and it is now more important than ever that social workers take responsibility for their own professional development needs. Fully updated to reflect the current social work landscape, including the Knowledge and Skills statements, Evidencing CPD provides a comprehensive guide to support social workers in creating and developing their own portfolios and focuses on critical reflection as a learning tool for CPD activities. By developing a professional portfolio, all the elements of the changing environment can be brought into a single place so that individual practice lies at the heart of service improvement. This book helps social workers to work through the process, providing hints, tips and guidance on constructing a portfolio in line with the PCF. It also helps guide critical reflection so they can learn from their own practice. This best-selling publication is packed with examples and exercises to support personal portfolio development and is mapped to the different levels of social work progression.
Read an Excerpt
A Guide to Building Your Social Work Portfolio
By Daisy Bogg, Maggie Challis
Critical Publishing LtdCopyright © 2016 Daisy Bogg and Maggie Challis
All rights reserved.
Current context of social work reforms in England
The decade from 2002 to 2012 saw some significant changes to social work education, training and professional development. The work of the Social Work Task Force (SWTF) and the Social Work Reform Board (SWRB), as well as the recommendations of the Munro Review (Munro and Great Britain Department for Education, 2011), the work of The College of Social Work and subsequent developments introduced by the Offices of the Chief Social Workers, have all contributed to the overhaul of social work at all levels.
This initial chapter provides an overview of the context of social work education, training and development in order to support practitioners to conceptualise their own continuing professional development (CPD) range of standards and requirements. Social work is a contextual profession and a portfolio approach will enable self-reflection and self-directed learning, but in order to make the most of your learning it is important to be aware of the frameworks in place and the desired outcomes of these in a practice context.
A brief history of social work education and learning in England
Social work has been through a number of changes and developments over recent years, with the qualification to practice and the legal right to use the title 'social worker' becoming subject to more robust regulation. This reflects how the profession has grown and changed, and the value placed upon the role over time. It can sometimes be the case that social workers themselves are not always fully aware of where we have come from or the learning that we have gained as a result.
The idea of formalised and quality assured social work education can be traced back to the First World War (1914–1918). At this time, England was experiencing a significant change of direction in terms of social welfare policy in response to being able to meet the needs of a population affected by war. Throughout this period, social work was moving away from a charitable pursuit into the realms of state provided welfare. In recognition of this shift, in 1918 the Joint University Council for Social Studies (JUCSS) was established with the aim of co-ordinating the work of social studies departments across England (Payne, 2005). This was later replaced by the Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee (JUCSWEC), which still exists today.
Over the next 50 years, the role of the social worker continued to develop. In hospitals, almoners were appointed to undertake assessments of need and eligibility for services, and psychiatric social workers were introduced to asylums to carry out social assessments. The diversity of social work roles that were being established meant that training was focused on the area of work rather than on a set of common skills, and social workers were often linked into health services. This situation added to the lack of a unified professional identity and there were wide variations in the training courses that were being developed to meet the range of needs arising from the work.
The Seebohm report
The 1968 Seebohm report marked a major change for social work both as a profession and also in terms of how training and education is used and valued. This review came about as a result of some very familiar concerns.
» Increasing levels of juvenile delinquency.
» The need for family services to help the most deprived.
» Increasing numbers of older people.
» Poor co-ordination of personal social services.
» Inadequate training for social workers. (Dickens, 2011, pp 22–39)
Social services provision at this time was split across a range of different departments, with social workers employed in diverse contexts and locations. While there was a desire to bring together social workers into a common professional group, this was far from being achieved. The Seebohm report set out a vision for unified social services departments with a central co-ordinating role for social workers, and this provided an opportunity for social workers to come together in a more coherent way.
In 1971, the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW) came into being to oversee standards of social work education. At this time social work was a certificated occupation with a number of recognised entry routes. Over the next 20 years, social work continued to see significant developments and the Diploma in Social Work was introduced in 1991 as the single entry route for new social workers. Throughout the 1990s, there was increasing political pressure to implement a registration system, particularly for social workers in children and family contexts.
Social work registration
The Care Standards Act 2000 was passed through Parliament partly as a result of the concerns to implement a registration system. This piece of legislation represented a landmark for social work as a recognised profession, and introduced two key changes that helped to set the stage for the reviews and reforms that have led us to where we are today. Firstly, it set out the scope and remit of a new organisation – the General Social Care Council (GSCC) – whose role it would be to regulate and register social workers and social work education, as well as taking on a broader remit to undertake the strategic development and promotion of the whole social care sector in England. Secondly, it introduced the requirement of professional registration of social workers across England.
The General Social Care Council (GSCC), was established in 2001. During its ten years in full operation, the GSCC developed a range of approaches to managing the initial training and CPD of social workers, and over this period the profession grew and developed into a degree-level registered profession with the title of social worker protected in law.
In 2003, the degree was introduced as the minimum qualification for social work. The GSCC then turned its attention to how social workers continued to develop and learn once they had achieved qualification. It developed a post-qualification framework of awards which relied on the provision of courses and programmes by higher education institutions. The minimum requirement for continued registration did not depend upon gaining these higher education awards, however. It rested instead on social workers undertaking a minimum of 15 days or 90 hours of post-registration training and learning (PRTL) activity over the three-year period of registration. The form of CPD was not prescribed and was in practice generally interpreted as participating in courses from which a certificate of attendance could be obtained. There was therefore something of a mismatch between the desired academic route to CPD implicit in the post-qualifying (PQ) framework, and the reality of what social workers actually did to continue their learning. The result was that there was no way the GSCC could determine through its PQ framework or registration requirements whether CPD activity was leading to any changes in practice or improvement to services beyond the self-assessed comment on the post-registration training and learning (PRTL) form which asked about the perceived impact of the listed activities.
Interest in social care and social work was high throughout the 2000s, with various reviews and recommendations in relation to social work standards and training being considered. One of the key developments was a review carried out by the Department of health (DH) in 2006 titled Options for Excellence, which made several recommendations in relation to the introduction of the Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW) role, the importance of good supervision and the need for CPD opportunities.
The momentum for reform and improvement across social work continued to grow, and in February 2009 the SWTF was established by the DH and the then Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). The social work functions of DCSF have since been transferred to the Department for Education (DfE). Membership of the SWTF was drawn from across the profession from front line social workers and educators to the most senior of senior leaders, based on the acknowledgement that the best way to implement profession-wide change would be to task the profession itself to identify and implement the appropriate standards. The remit of the group was:
to undertake a comprehensive review of frontline social work practice and to make recommendations for improvement and reform of the whole profession, across adult and children's services. (SWTF, 2009, p 13)
The SWTF delivered its final report in December 2009 and made 15 recommendations which have underpinned subsequent developments. The SWRB was established in early 2010 and replaced the SWTF, with a remit of making the recommendations a reality across the social work profession.
The GSCC closed in July 2012 and the regulation and registration of social workers passed to the health Professions Council (HPC) (which became the health & Care Professions Council (HCPC)), with standards for the profession becoming the responsibility of the newly established professional college: The College of Social Work (TCSW).
1.1 Social Work Task Force recommendation for CPD
Continuing professional development
[The] creation of a more coherent and effective national framework for the continuing professional development of social workers, along with mechanisms to encourage a shift in culture which raises expectations of an entitlement to on-going learning and development. (SWTF, 2009, p 13)
Recent reforms: from the Social Work Task Force to the Professional Capabilities Framework and KSS
The Social Work Task Force (SWTF) was clear that both social workers and their employers needed to take responsibility for enhancing the quality of social work practice, and also that the way in which initial and continuing education was conceived and organised was not sufficient to meet the needs of the profession. It was this view of an inconsistent pattern of CPD that led the SWRB to develop the concept of the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) as a means of establishing the new and co-ordinated approach to CPD.
Under GSCC, social work was described and assessed in terms of competencies. This approach has its roots in the National Qualifications Framework (NCVQ, 1991), which described what workers in 11 occupational areas should know and be able to do. The competency approach has been criticised as a tool for assessing complex tasks and knowledge needed for professional work (Eraut, 1994), and risks reducing these complexities to a set of 'tick box' activities which are assessed largely by observation.
The GSCC closed in July 2012 and the regulation and registration of social workers passed to the Health Professions Council – which became the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) when it took on the registration of social workers – with standards for the profession becoming the responsibility of a professional college – The College of Social Work (TCSW).
The PCF represented a move away from a competence-based approach and uses instead the concept of 'capability'. This approach attempts to define and describe the things that social workers should know and be able to do across the full range of their professional lives, including such vital issues as the use of professional judgement and working with uncertainty.
The notion of capability is significant because, as Eraut (1994, p 203) indicates, it implies that the individual has the necessary knowledge and skills to perform in a wider range of situations than those that are observed. This includes the cognitive processes being used by the professional person, and also makes the assumption that the professional has or will acquire a knowledge base that will support future practice. Implicit in this approach is also an understanding that individuals will understand the role of their profession in relation to individuals, employing organisations and wider society. Capability is about knowledge in use, in context and integrated into practice.
None of this can be captured through an atomised approach to practice which defines the professionals' performance through a series of tasks and performance-related knowledge.
The PCF was designed to underpin all stages of a social worker's development, from initial entry to a qualifying programme through to senior levels of strategic manager and policy maker. A principal social worker is measured against the outcomes of the PCF as assiduously as a first-year student preparing to go out on placement. Entry, readiness to practise, placements and graduation are all framed by the professional capabilities of the PCF, and assessment of achievement will be made against those professional outcomes. This means that the learning and assessment methods have to be adapted to capture capability, not competence.
The SWRB's approach to CPD attempted to capture this change in what is meant by 'professional practice' by recognising that courses and conferences are not sufficient to ensure that capability is developed and that knowledge continues to be enhanced and integrated into practice.
Unfortunately, TCSW was short-lived and in July 2015 it closed its doors and its products were re-assigned: the PCF was rehomed with BASW (www.basw.co.uk/pcf/) and the resources produced by The College on behalf of the DfE and DH were transferred to Daisy Bogg Consultancy Ltd. These can be found on the Social Work Resources website (http://socialworkresources.org.uk/).
The Knowledge and Skills Statements (KSS) issued by the Chief Social Workers belong to the relevant government department, and are intended to provide additional detail in relation to social work practice in specific areas, and in the case of child and family social work, at specific levels – approved practitioner, practice supervisor and practice leader. These are the focus of current developments in statutory social work practice and will be considered in more detail in Chapter 3.
Further changes to qualifying education
In 2014/15 two reviews of social work education were published, one commissioned by the DfE and written by Sir Martin Narey, and one commissioned by the DH, written by Professor David Croisdale-Appleby. While not in complete agreement about what needed to be in place, both reports highlighted some significant failings in the way social workers are trained, educated and supported with post-qualification learning and development. In Children and Families, a new way of training was being developed; this included 'Frontline', a fast-track training scheme, aimed at high achieving graduates and born out of partnership between employers and higher education institutions.
This approach to training social workers was supported by the then minister of education, Michael Gove, and the DfE invested heavily in the scheme as a solution to some of the recruitment and quality difficulties being experienced in front-line services. The DH soon followed suit, and in 2015 the Think Ahead programme was launched – a fast-track route into mental health social work. Again, this scheme targets high achieving graduates and is based on a partnership between employers and an academic partner, in this case the University of York. Both of these developments have caused controversy across the sector, with mixed views as to the success of these schemes in improving learning. There have also been concerns raised that to remove social work education from universities may be the start of eroding the nature of the profession and creating a disconnect between practice on the ground and research in the universities. While it can be argued that this link is far from embedded in the current arrangements, the move to a work-based learning route to qualification may have some unintended consequences in the future.
Continuing professional development (CPD)
A summary of a new approach to CPD was produced by TCSW in 2012. It makes the following statements in relation to the new way of addressing CPD in the context of professional capability.
» The approach will be aligned with the relevant levels of the professional capabilities framework (PCF) and linked to the career structure.
» Social workers will be supported by employers and expected to take professional responsibility for developing their skills to a high professional level, through undertaking learning and development activities over and above the core standards required for re-registration with HPC.
» A wide range of learning and development activities should be promoted. Space for critical reflection, learning from others and opportunities for access to research should be valued alongside more structured training. There is an aspiration that social workers should have the opportunity to achieve post qualifying (PQ) awards at Masters' level through modular programmes.
Excerpted from Evidencing CPD by Daisy Bogg, Maggie Challis. Copyright © 2016 Daisy Bogg and Maggie Challis. Excerpted by permission of Critical Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
List of figures, useful information and activities vi
Meet the authors viii
List of acronyms ix
Chapter 1 Current context of social work reforms in England 4
Chapter 2 The Professional Capabilities Framework 14
Chapter 3 The Knowledge and Skills Statements [KSS] 26
Chapter 4 What is portfolio-based learning? 30
Chapter 5 What goes into a portfolio? 40
Chapter 6 Portfolios in initial education and beyond 58
Chapter 7 Portfolios for CPD 69
Chapter 8 Portfolios for career development 85
Chapter 9 How are portfolios assessed? 95
Appendix 1 PCF domains and capabilities 110
Appendix 2 Knowledge and Skills Statements 148
Appendix 3 Honey and Mumford's learning styles 161
Appendix 4 Time management exercise 165
Appendix 5 Reflective activities and tools 166
Appendix 6 Developing, assessing and reviewing portfolios 171